Aspen Exploration Corporation (ASPN)
August 2004 Interview with: Bob Cohan, President and CEO
Business News, Financial News, Stocks, Money & Investment Ideas, CEO Interview
and Information on their
business of acquiring and developing interests in domestic oil and gas properties operating primarily in northern California.

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Aspen Exploration Corporation is a solid efficient, profitable company that’s currently 100% natural gas, with excellent existing gas production and very bright future drilling prospects and high forecasted natural gas prices

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Energy
Oil/Gas Exploration
(ASPN-OTC: BB)

Aspen Exploration Corporation

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 22530
Bakersfield, CA 93390-2530

1601 New Stine Road - Suite 205
Bakersfield, CA  93309
Phone: 661-831-4669


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Bob Cohan
President and
Chief Executive Officer

Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse
Senior Editor

CEOCFOinterviews.com
August 2004

BIO:
Bob Cohan
President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Cohan obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from the State University College at Oneonta, NY in 1979.  He has approximately 25 years experience in oil and gas exploration, development, and evaluation including employment with Western Geophysical, H. K. van Poollen & Assoc., Inc., Universal Oil & Gas, and Tri-Valley Oil & Gas Co.  Mr. Cohan has been employed by Aspen Exploration Corporation for a total of 13 years and effective May 1, 2003, was appointed President and CEO of Aspen.   He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).

Company Profile:
ASPEN EXPLORATION CORPORATION (OTC: BB–ASPN), operating primarily in northern California is engaged in the business of acquiring and developing interests in domestic oil and gas properties. The Company has a talented staff that allows Aspen to keep overhead costs low and yet participate in numerous exploration and development drilling deals as well as production purchases.

Aspen currently has working interests in approximately 59 producing wells (43 operated by Aspen), mostly high BTU natural gas, and has a very active drilling program planned for 2004. In the past 3 years Aspen has successfully completed 17 gas wells out of 20 attempts, which is an 85% success ratio, a record virtually unheard of in the oil and gas exploration business. 3-D seismic data and qualified interpreters are essential for this exploration. All of the selected drill sites for 2004 have been identified through the use of 3-D seismic techniques, which have demonstrated great improvement in the percentages of successful oil and gas discoveries. New and additional drilling locations for gas wells are constantly sought, based on solid geology in conjunction with 3-D seismic information. The Sacramento Valley of California, where current activities are focused, include extensive, nationally important oil and gas production and refining facilities, thereby allowing quick hook-up and production of gas when a discovery is made.  The Aspen staff and consultants have also found representatives of the State of California to be very cooperative and it is not difficult to obtain permits for new exploratory wells or to expand existing production.

CEOCFOinterviews: Mr. Cohan, please give us an overview on Aspen Exploration Corporation?

Mr. Cohan: “Aspen was started in February of 1980, approximately 25 years ago. We are currently a 100% natural gas producer in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. I believe we now operate 43 gas wells and have additional interests in 16 wells that other companies operate.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Tell us about your role as an operator.

Mr. Cohan: “As an operator, we have control of all aspects of the operations regarding the gas wells. We are in charge of identifying the prospects, contracting out all the service companies, permitting, accounting, and supervision of all phases of the process from start to finish. Aspen has working interest participants that help share in the costs and the revenues of the wells. One of the big strides Aspen has made over the past several years is that we are now able to take larger working interests in the wells for our own account.  When we started drilling in California about 9 years ago and we didn’t have much capital, we took very small working interests in the wells. We have gradually built up our cash flow to the point where we are currently participating for 20% to 30% working interest in the wells. Our goal is that with increased production and cash flow, to take a greater interest in these wells: 30% to 40% and possible someday own as much as a 50% working interest. Our group of partners is comprised of very sophisticated investors who have been with us for quite some time. We have shown them huge success; I believe we’ve drilled 17 gas wells out of 20 attempts over the last 3 years. That is an 85% success rate, so we have no trouble finding partners and as a matter of fact, I have a waiting list of people who would like to get into some of our wells.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What is your exploration strategy?

Mr. Cohan: “Number one, we are very conservative and patient; for every well that we drill, I review about 20 to 25 prospects. After I have selected a prospect I have independent geological and geophysical consultants review the ones that I like. If the consultants concur with my evaluation, we will drill the prospect. We utilize a combination of 3-D seismic data and well control in evaluating these prospects. So that’s our strategy and the reason why our success rate has been so high, we are very selective in what we drill and we try to use all of the exploration tools available to us.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What else separates you from the pack?

Mr. Cohan: “We use only the top notch geologists and geophysicists to help in the selection of our drillsites. I don’t believe in luck, I believe that you make your own luck, so we are patient and we don’t just drill wells because we can. Another factor that may come into play is we see a large deal flow, due to Aspen’s great reputation, so many independent geologists and geophysicists send us their plays. If we take their geologic plays they know that we are going to drill them in a timely manner and therefore they’ll get paid in a timely manner.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What is your niche?

Mr. Cohan: “For right now the Sacramento Valley; that is a place where a lot of the majors have left, so it creates a lot of opportunities for some of the smaller companies like Aspen. I think we have filled the void left by the exit of the majors nicely and have been very successful. So I would say that natural gas up in the Sacramento Valley is the niche that I think that we’ve filled.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What are your criteria when looking for a well?

Mr. Cohan: “Our wells range from the shallowest of 2,000 feet to the deepest of approximately 11,000 feet. I think what we need to see is a risk reward ratio that makes sense; things like return on investment, average annual rate of return, that sort of thing. We look for low to moderate risk type plays.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Can you tell us about current happenings?

Mr. Cohan: “One of our most exciting gas plays is called the West Grimes prospect, located in Colusa County, California. Aspen has roughly 5,000 acres leased in this area. About a year and a half ago we shot a 10 square mile 3-D seismic survey over this acreage. We drilled our first 2 wells on the survey this year, which are both successes. One of those is a very large well; gas sales should commence from this well in a couple of days at 3,500 MCFPD of natural gas. We plan to drill 2 more wells in the field this year. Further, we have identified approximately 11 additional prospects in this field, which we will drill over the next few years. In other areas in the Sacramento Valley, we took a farmout package of 6 wells from another independent producer; we drilled the first 2 of those wells, which were successful gas discoveries and are currently producing. We have 2 more wells in that package to drill this year and two more next year.”

CEOCFOinterviews: How do you differ from other companies in monitoring operations?

Mr. Cohan: “I would say that a lot of companies in our position might see the production from their wells once a month and there could be a problem arising, but by the time they see it, it could be too late. Each morning I get an email from my various pumpers that gauge the wells everyday. It takes me five to ten minutes to scan the production and if there is a problem with a well I’ll talk to the appropriate pumper about possible remedial measures we can implement. I really care about the wells as if they are my children. I take a big interest in them, because it’s kind of a creative process to drill each well. I think that you really have to love what you do to care what your wells are doing everyday. I think that’s a huge difference and a huge benefit for Aspen and our partners in that we don’t just drill the wells and move on to the next one. We watch over every well every day so that production is maximized.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What can you catch by being on top of everything?

Mr. Cohan: “You might be able to see that all of a sudden a well is starting to make more water. If you continue to produce it at a higher rate, more water could come in quickly and kill the well as opposed to if you catch it before it becomes a problem. You can reduce the choke size and the flow rate a little bit and possibly prolong the life of the well.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What are the challenges going forward?

Mr. Cohan: “I would say that continuing to find a large number of quality prospects to drill which has not been a problem thus far. Funding has not been an issue, as Aspen’s success rate has created a demand to participate in our projects. Gas prices, which is something that I want to stress as we are a natural gas producer, are extremely high. We are getting $6.00 per Mcf (one thousand cubic feet of natural gas) for gas, which is very high price, therefore it makes it very profitable to be a natural gas producer. So I would say that is our biggest challenge, to continue to find quality drilling prospects.”

CEOCFOinterviews: How do you deal with the cyclicality of the industry?

Mr. Cohan: “Every project we take has to be viable at $2.50 gas; it’s hard to imagine $2.50 gas, but I could possibly see $3.50 or $4.00 gas, which is still a great price. So when we take a prospect, we pretty much know that that prospect will make money at $2.50 per Mcf. If you take prospects that will only make sense at $6.00 and then the price goes to $2.50, you are in trouble. I think we handle the cyclicality of the business by taking projects that make sense with a much lower gas price. I will say that most industry experts are predicting high gas prices for the foreseeable future.”

CEOCFOinterviews: Do you believe gas prices will be strong going forward?

Mr. Cohan: “I believe gas prices will be strong in the short, the medium and probably the long term.  I think we’ll see gas in the $4.00 to $7.00 per Mcf range and that’s really what matters most to Aspen and its profitability.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What should people know about Aspen?

Mr. Cohan: “Aspen is a solid, efficiently run, honest company. I believe we have one of the best reputations for gas producers in the entire Sacramento Valley of Northern California. We always do what we say we are going to do. We will drill anywhere from 5 to 10 wells per year. All of our partners, vendors and landowners are treated very fairly. We are patient and I think very knowledgeable. We have an incredible success rate, 17 out of 20 is a great success rate, which is very rare. We have also made a lot of money for ourselves and for our partners and I think that we are just a good solid company with very little debt and very well run.”

CEOCFOinterviews: What would you like to say to readers in closing?

Mr. Cohan: “We are a solid, efficient, profitable company that’s 100% natural gas, with excellent existing production and very bright future drilling prospects and high forecasted natural gas prices. I would like to mention that our website is www.aspenexploration.com and that we are traded on the OTC: BB, our ticker symbol is ASPN.OB."


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Newsflash!

To view Releases highlight & left click on the company name!

ASPEN ANNOUNCES TWO MORE GAS DISCOVERIES

DENVER, COLORADO, September 2, 2004.  Aspen Exploration Corporation (OTCBB:  ASPN), with offices in Bakersfield, California, and Denver, Colorado, has announced positive results from two recently drilled wells.  Aspen has drilled seven successful gas wells out of seven attempts thus far this year and anticipates drilling 3 additional wells in the Sacramento Valley gas province of northern California this year.

Posted: 9/7/04 - CEOCFOinterviews.com
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